"You Belong" is an exemplary case of how to reckon with artistic tradition: discard with novel repetition and retro fascination, and encounter the historical limitations of a previous artistic form as the spur towards new creative possibilities. While the track is indebted to classic house—being the unmistakable offspring of Kevin Saunderson's Inner City album Paradise, you'd never confuse it for its predecessor: the album version is a subtractive attack, stripping the Inner City sound to the bone, and the club mix re-wires it with dizzying chopped-up vocals and bonky filtered rhythmic percolation.
A further displacement of the classic house style is the lyrics, which rather than cheerleading for 'big fun' or the 'good life,' are equally a bum trip to those of Hercules' "Blind." In the place of that track's disillusionment, however, here the conceit is centered around romantic disappointment: "you belong to him tonight, there's nothing I can do." It's an intriguing anomaly for vocal house, as disappointment is rarely the typical emotional impetus for wanting to join the dancefloor throng.
The appearances here of remixes by two techno legends would seem to further press the stamp of legitimacy down on the Hercules crew. Derrick Carter deploys 303 squelch with tasteful restraint, and over a chunky, invigorating low-end swing allows vocal samples that begin clipped and fragmented to culminate in multi-track hypnotic refrain. Saunderson himself shows up for the third mix, upping the house anthem quotient without succumbing to excess. His incarnation jacks the BPMs and adds classic loose, energetic hi-hats and synth stabs, managing to take the track to the edge of fiery flamboyance without going up in flames. Tellingly, the vocal line is reduced only to "you belong to him tonight," effectively curbing the original's buzzkill sentiment and reinscribing it in the tradition of euphoric celebration. Lastly, Riton rerubs the tune, captivatingly dicing up the track's jerky syncopation even further before unleashing some abusive synth arpeggiation.
Remixes are possible and exciting because a song is never self-identical. All three remixes here are skilled interventions that succeed in igniting the subterranean sparks of possibility implicitly contained in the album original. But it's ultimately Riton's and the Hercules club mix which are the most artistically forward-thinking, as they are able to envision the historical past not as tradition set in stone, but as something yet to come.
Buy Hercules & Love Affair - You Belong at
Tracklist: Hercules & Love Affair - You BelongA1 You Belong (Hercules Club Mix)
A2 You Belong (Kevin Saunderson Mix)
B1 You Belong (D's New Rhythm Bounce)
B2 You Belong (Riton Rerub)